Saturday, 6 October 2007

Throwing Rocks

There’s a saying that’s obligatory in all screenwriting books - put your hero up a tree and throw rocks at them. Fair enough, as far as it goes, but does this hold true for all genres?

Well, it’s funny you should ask…

In horror films a thing of unspeakable horror throws rocks at scantily clad women, who are tied to the tree. (in psychological horror, the rocks are implied.)

In action movies the hero throws a never ending stream of rocks and quips at the baddies, then the tree explodes in a fireball as he jumps to another, bigger tree.

In crime movies the protagonist stands at the bottom of the tree wondering who’s been throwing the rocks (In sophisticated crime movies, the protagonist stands at the bottom of the tree wondering why they’ve been throwing the rocks)

In serial killer movies the audience get off on the protagonist throwing rocks at people in trees.

In gangster movies the protagonist climbs the tree, throwing rocks at anyone who get in his way until he gets to the top. Then he falls off.

In blockbusters huge CGI rocks are thrown at a protagonists in huge CGI trees.

In man on the run thrillers the baddies throw rocks at the hero until he can’t take it anymore, and throws them back.

In conspiracy thrillers in turns out that the Sinister Government Agency/Evil Corporation was behind the whole rock throwing thing all along.

In film noir a dame seduces the protagonist into throwing rocks at her husband. Then she throws a rock at him.

In dramas the protagonist tries to climb the tree whilst throwing rock at himself, until he realises this is a stupid thing to do. (In tragedy the protagonist doesn’t realises this is a stupid thing to do, and falls out the tree.)

In family drama the protagonist tries to climb the tree while her family throw rocks at her.

In comedy… see drama, except the rocks hit the protagonist in an amusing way.

In romantic comedy the protagonist throw rocks at each other until they realise that they’re made for one another. Then they get their rocks off.

In kids movies the protagonist learns that friendship is more important than throwing rocks.

In westerns a man tries to put his rock throwing days behind him.

In Sci fi the rocks are the silicon based lifeforms.

In Fantasy the rocks throw themselves at the hero as he seeks the magic tree.

In quirky art house movies the protagonist falls in love with a rock. (In non quirky art house films, they sit in a strangly shaped tree talking about rocks (and occasionally taking thier clothes off) for 3 hours. Then they fall out the tree. )

Over to you - any alternatives/additions?


Elver said...

In M. Night Shyamalan's films it's revealed at the end that it was actually the tree throwing rocks at its inhabitants.

the authentic far away said...

tee hee

Oli said...

Couldn't think of anything witty, so I'll just say 'very funny' :)

Jon Peacey said...

I have just decided to burn all the chapters on genre in my screenwriting books as you've just summed it up so much better and succinctly. And without diagrams! Hoorah!

PS: this isn't sarcasm... though it might not be strictly accurate! :)